I hate small sample sizes. You hate small sample sizes. The only thing I dislike more than the samples themselves is when people extrapolate things from SSS’s. Today, I’m going to throw that hate aside and have some fun with the small sample.
Author’s Note: I’m writing this on Wednesday night in the six o’clock hour, before the game against the A’s begins.
Through Tuesday night’s game, the Yankees average homer came in at 401 feet. They’d hit the ball over one mile, 6,817 feet to be exact. Going into yesterday, the average A.L. homer traveled 395.2 feet so the Yankees are outpacing that by a few feet. The longest homers of the season so far have been Curtis Granderson’s Opening Night shot against Josh Beckett (455′) and Alex Rodriguez’s punishment of Craig Breslow from April 20th (452′). Predictably, Jorge Posada’s homer against Josh Beckett that went off the RF foul pole at Fenway has been the shortest Yankee homer of the season (351′).
Staying with the offensive side of things, some Yankees have a few odd peripheral marks. Brett Gardner, without an extra-base hit this season, has an IsoP of .000. Let’s hope Brett’s first gapper comes soon. He’s fast enough that he could turn what would be a double for most into a triple. Nick Johnson’s IsoP of .122 is nothing special, but his .261 IsoD is fantastic. That’s what happens when you walk as many times as every single Houston Astro combined. If Johnson keeps that IsoD as his batting average starts to climb, he could have an almost-Bondsian OBP at season’s end. Robinson Cano is crushing the ball to the tune of a .653 SLG and a .326 IsoP. I’ll repeat that: Robinson Cano has a .326 IsoP. That’s nuts. It’s also worth noting that he’s seeing a (thus far) career high 3.54 pitches per plate appearance (as a team, the Yankees are seeing 4.03 pitches per PA).
Moving to the other side of the ball, the first UZR updates came out this week and boy are they fun. It’s incredible how screwy these numbers can look in the early going, just like some of the offensive numbers (Scott Podsednik batting in the mid-.400′s?! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?). Two Yankee fielders have been cleaning up this season. One is, as expected, Curtis Granderson. He’s currently sporting an 18.6 UZR/150. He’s looked terrific out there so, let’s hope the stellar play keeps up. The mark won’t stay that high, but it’s nice to see that my eyes and the numbers match up. The other one is Alex Rodriguez, who’s also looked much improved at the hot corner, now that he’s further removed from hip surgery. His UZR/150 is a staggering 24.8. Both Granderson’s and Rodriguez’s numbers are unsustainable. On the other extreme, there’s Marcus Thames, Derek Jeter, and Robinson Cano. Cano and Jeter have marks of -42.5 and -39.8 in the young season. And if those numbers seem comically low, look at Thames’s UZR/150: -148.7. Negative one hundred forty eight point seven. That makes Adam Dunn look like Roberto Clemente. Now, obviously, neither one of these players is going to stay that hot or cold defensively. The only one I’d even remotely expect to stay that high is Curtis Granderson and if he does, he could win the MVP. Like early season batting stats, we should take early season fielding stats with the whole shaker of salt, not just a grain.
In terms of offense, these numbers are no where near stabalized and they’ll definitely fluctuate as the year goes on. The same goes for the defensive stats. While I, and we all, try to avoid making judgments on small sample sizes of data, I will say this…the stats in this post have confirmed one thing: this season has already been a ton of fun and it will definitely continue to be.
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